Age disqualifies Fischer from IMF race

Fischer: "I was hoping that the IMF would change its regulations, not only for my sake, but also for the sake of future candidates."

June 15, 2011 06:12
2 minute read.
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer

Stanley Fischer speech at BGU 311. (photo credit: Dani Machlis/BGU)


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Stanley Fischer was notified Monday night that the International Monetary Fund’s board of directors has canceled his nomination for the position of IMF managing director because of his age.

Fischer who is 67, had hoped the IMF would revise its regulations, which require the managing director to be no older than 65 at the time of taking office, and no older than 70 during his or her term. However, after discussing the issue, the board of directors decided not to change the rules.

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Fischer expressed his disappointment over the decision, saying: “I think that the age restriction, which was set in the past at 65, is not relevant today. I was hoping that the IMF board of directors would change its regulations, not only for the sake of my candidacy, but also for the sake of future candidates for the position of managing director.”

Adding that he would “proudly and happily continue” in his job at the Bank of Israel, Fischer said he had “no regrets” for having submitted his candidacy to the IMF, but wishes he had been “given the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities and my experience to the IMF board of directors.”

The IMF board later issued a statement in which it said it would consider the nominations of two candidates, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens, with the objective of completing the selection process by June 30.

Lagarde, who is considered the favorite for the role, will appear alongside Fischer at the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem next week, where they will discuss the future of the global economy.

Meanwhile, the shekel strengthened against the dollar and the euro in interbank trading Tuesday on the news of Fischer’s disqualification. The dollar dropped back to an intraday low of NIS 3.390 after the Bank of Israel set the representative rate at NIS 3.434 on Monday, 1.21% above Friday’s rate, on fears that Fischer’s possible departure could adversely affect the Israeli economy.

The news about Fischer would only have a short-term effect on the shekel, Clal Finance chief economist Amir Kahanovich told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. The shekel should continue to strengthen as foreign investors feel – for a variety of reasons – more comfortable about returning to Israel, he said.

Kahanovich and other financial analysts will be looking at the Central Bureau of Statistics’s publication of the latest consumer price index data late Wednesday, which will give a better indication of what the Bank of Israel will do when it sets the July interest rate later this month.

“In my opinion if the CPI comes out, as I expect, at [an increase of] 0.5%... then the Bank of Israel will not hurry to raise the interest rate again, but will keep it at 3.25%,” Kahanovich said.

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